Politics of 2013-12-04

Statement: Farmers deserve better

The annual ritual of National Farmers Day is here with us again and the PNC extends our utmost gratitude to the farmers of Ghana for keeping our nation alive with their hard work and sacrifices that has not only aided the nutritional needs of the population but also contributed to the economic life of the nation.
We congratulate all farmers for their fortitude, forbearance and for sustaining us all these years.
As we commend and celebrate our farmers for their great contribution to nation building, it is appropriate to review some of the actions that incapacitate our farmers and their ability to achieve more.
It is our view that farmers be availed adequate protection so that they are not out competed by cheap imports. We need to establish special markets that will purchase farmers produce so as to reduce the DEMAND and SUPPLY bottlenecks that confront the farmers. We have done so with cocoa farmers and we should do so for those in the Shea, Groundnuts and grains. This would lead to expansion of the cash crop sector and avoid over reliance on cocoa.
Government must take bold steps to nib absolutely, the importation of rice and poultry products and incentivize domestic farmers with the huge amounts that go into such importation. Surely, such a measure will have multiplier effects of increased jobs, increased incomes, expansion of linkage businesses and retention and conservation of currency.
Our farmers have all the time fed us consequently; it is inadequate for the nation to declare just a day annually as public holiday for farmers. Rather as a show of solidarity, government and indeed all citizens must sacrifice a day’s salary/wages in a year to be put in a special fund dedicated as capital to young persons who desire to enter agriculture but lack the needed capital for their innovative ideas. We suggest that it should be called Agricultural Investment Fund (AIF). Additionally a percentage of the common fund should be earmarked for these purposes. This is the least we can do.
Once again, we salute the Farmers of Ghana.
Bernard Mornah
General Secretary